Posts Tagged 'funk'

Funk Prelude by Funktion

Groove scientists Funktion

Kalamazoo funk maestros Funktion have dropped an impressive debut CD that is as well crafted as it is enjoyable. The band is known for their high energy live shows and slamming covers of songs by James Brown, Kool and the Gang, Parliament, and others. Funk Prelude ups the ante and marks a major step forward in the band’s evolution. The debut is a refined studio recording of surprisingly strong original material. On it we hear a maturing group with a rootsy funk sound that is really starting to gel. Funktion has harnessed their vibrant live mojo to produce an eclectic batch of solid tunes that grow on the listener.

This band does not fake the funk. One can hear the classic elements of great funk music here. Tight syncopated rhythms, playful upbeat grooves, soulful vocals, jazzy overtones, sophisticated arrangements, expressive solos, and contagious horn parts are all here. As the dust settles and history weighs in, Funk music will no doubt be seen as the highly innovative, enjoyable, and important artistic achievements that it is. This band is definitely doing their part to keep this under appreciated art form alive. They are paying homage to the form and its roots while forging their own unique sound. In doing so Funktion is blazing a fast path to join the ranks of contemporary funk artists like Galactic, the Greyboy All Stars, Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, and the parade of talent on the Daptone label.

Funk Prelude is a solid debut from one of the most impressive live acts in the region. Having said that, the band has a ways to go to ascend to the level of the classic funk masters. Funk greats like Sly Stone, Stevie Wonder, George Clinton, and James Brown had a socially conscious sophistication to much of their best work that seems to be somewhat lacking on the dancing and romancing tunes found here. Still Funktion nails the fun factor, and turning out a party has always been the foundation of funk. This is a tight knit group of talented musicians that have been working very, very hard to take their music to the next level. They have succeeded strongly here and the future is wide open with possibilities. Funk Prelude shows that Funktion is more than just a funk cover band. They are original artists applying tasty musicianship and stellar chemistry to unique sounding music that is genuinely funky. Its a shame there are not more bands around like them.

Make It Funky: The Music That Took Over the World

       This gem of a film is a rich blend of performances and interviews that document the sound, spirit, legacy, and impact of the rich musical and cultural traditions of New Orleans. A key city in the evolution of jazz, funk, rock and roll, zydeco, and R&B, the New Orleans sound is a multi-cultural gumbo of musical traditions that have been slow cooked for flavor and are always served red hot. This film features many of the biggest names in New Orleans music and is a great introduction to the vibrant musical culture of the city. If you have never been to JazzFest in New Orleans then this film is the next best thing.



           Not long after the Watts riots in California, the astoundingly great soul record label Stax put on an epic concert in LA that was attended by more than 100,00 people. Billed as “the black Woodstock,” this event was a wild success with red hot performances from Rufus Thomas, Isaac Hayes, the Staples Singers, Albert King, and the Barkays. This DVD captures the timeless moment beautifully through great performances, interviews, and footage from the event and Watts streets. Also featured are hilarious and insightful commentaries from Richard Pryor and concert goers as well as a beautiful speech from Jesse Jackson. This multi-layered film is like a journey through the heart and soul of African American music and features funk, soul, gospel, and blues. Perhaps more importantly, though, it is a soulful look into the culture and people that created this timeless music.